Can sports formats be protected by copyright law?
On the 19th of January, 2022, the High Court of Delhi provisionally ruled upon a claim of copyright, vis a vis a specific T20 format of cricket. While the case (Samir Kasal v Prashant Mehta & Ors.) is reserved for a completion of pleadings in late April 2022, this provisional order of the Court could prove crucial for future adaptations of T20 cricket in India.
This article relays the factual background of the case, the arguments of the parties and the Court’s preliminary rulings against protection of sports format through copyright, and examines whether sports formats can be protected through intellectual property.
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Wilfred is an associate at GameChanger Law Advisors, India, and assists in all corporate, commercial and sports advisory matters of the firm. His areas of interest predominantly include sports law and commercial law.
Wilfred recently graduated from Gujarat National Law University in 2021 and headed the GNLU Centre for Sports & Entertainment law as its Student Convenor. He has previously interned with both domestic and foreign sports law firms, and was also mentored through the LawInSport Mentoring Scheme of 2019/20.